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Obama calls himself a former smoker despite still smoking

By Jimmy Orr / June 23, 2009

President Barack Obama (not pictured) admitted today that he still struggles with his smoking habit. Although he declared himself 95 percent cured, he said he occasionally still indulges in an occasional cigarette.

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It's not like President Obama is stumbling out of the presidential limo in a cloud of smoke like Jeff Spicoli did in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Nor can you compare him to Captain Phil Harris or any of the chain-smoking fishermen on the Deadliest Catch.

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It's just that he hasn't totally kicked the habit. He still has a cigarette or two. And he says it's something "as a former smoker he constantly struggles" with.

Obama, in a rare afternoon press conference, was asked about his oft-discussed nicotine habit in light of the legislation he signed yesterday that would curb the ability of tobacco companies to market their products to young people.

"Have I fallen off the wagon sometimes? Yes," he replied to himself. "Am I a daily smoker? No. Am I a constant smoker? No."

But it is something that he hasn't totally overcome yet. Although he says he's almost there. Kinda.

"I would say that I am 95 percent cured," he said to laughter in the press room. "But there are times when I mess up. Like folks who go to A.A., once you go down this path, it is something you continually struggle with."

The president says when he does take a drag, it's not in front of his children or his family. But he wouldn't go into where he might sneak the cigarette. He wouldn't be allowed to light one up in the White House itself as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made that against house rules back when she was the First Lady.

So that would mean when he does have a craving he might have to find a spot on the South Lawn. The North Lawn is too exposed and tourists might be able to take a damning photo. But there are plenty of secluded spots on the South Lawn which would give him some privacy.

Although it's not likely that he would walk out on the South Portico to light up. Although it would give him a great view, too many tourists with powerful cameras could capture it.

The best bet might be the roof. There are many places up there where you could go unnoticed. This photo gives you an idea. Here's another shot.

Regardless of where he smokes a butt, it was obvious that he doesn't like talking about. He nicely chastised Margaret Talev of McClatchy Newspapers for asking him about it.

"I just think it's fair Margaret to say that you just think it's neat to ask me about my smoking as opposed to being relevant to my new law," he said. "But I understand. It's an interesting human interest story."
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